Published On: Sun, Jul 7th, 2019

Florida: Death of Melvin Olds Jr. likely due to animal attack

Officials with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, the District 10 Medical Examiner and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have determined that the preliminary cause of death for 45-year-old Melvin Olds Jr. is injuries suffered during an animal attack.


Final determination will be made after toxicology reports are completed, which typically takes many weeks, but no wounds other than those caused by dogs were found on Olds’ body during an autopsy Friday. More than 100 dog bites were found on his body.

Olds was found in a wooded area behind a residence on Cochran Drive in the Highway Park neighborhood south of Lake Placid shortly before noon on July 4. He was last seen alive a few hours earlier.

Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services officers have set traps in the area and Animal Services units have been patrolling the area today looking for loose dogs who may have been involved in the attack.

Six dogs have been captured in the area and their bite size matches with the wounds on Olds’ body, but that alone is not enough to say for sure that they were the animals involved. DNA from those dogs will be compared to DNA collected from the wounds to see if a positive connection can be made.

“While we may have the dogs that were responsible for this horrible tragedy, we won’t know for sure for a while,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said. “I want to encourage residents of Highway Park and the surrounding area to be on the lookout for any loose dogs, especially those that seem aggressive. We don’t want anyone else to be injured.”

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